Story at a glance

  • Last year, the Virgin Hyperloop, an experimental mass transit system, successfully ran its first human test.
  • Now, the company is planning to launch a 670-mph hyper-speed pod on a journey from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C.
  • The futuristic pod will be on display to the public this summer for a temporary Smithsonian exhibit.

The Virgin Hyperloop has come a long way since Robert Goddard first proposed the idea of a high-speed train suspended by magnetic systems in a vacuum tube. With less than a decade until its planned launch, engineers are prepping for the next stop on this historic journey.

"It starts off with two people riding a Hyperloop. It ends with hundreds of millions of people riding on a Hyperloop and that's what the 2020s, the roaring 20s will be," co-founder and Chief Executive Josh Giegel, told Reuters


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Last year, the project, which is a subsidiary of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, successfully ran the first human trial at more than 100 miles per hour at the DevLoop test site in Las Vegas. It’s next stop will be in Washington, D.C., where the 670-mph hyper-speed Pegasus XP-2 pod will be on display. 

"At its core, this exhibition is about optimism and recognizing the many forces among us, like hyperloop, that are rapidly approaching and have the potential to transform our visitors’ daily lives. The ability to reduce a journey of many hours to just a few minutes is in and of itself a revolution, a way to connect people in ways we didn’t think possible," said Ashley Molese, curator of the upcoming FUTURES exhibit, in a release


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The exhibit will open this summer at the Arts + Industries Building (AIB), the first national museum in the United States, which is temporarily reopening for the first time in nearly two decades to host the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary celebrations. 

"Since opening in 1881, the Arts + Industries Building has been an incubator of big ideas that have gone on to profoundly impact the world around us,” said Rachel Goslins, director of the AIB, in the release. “Hyperloop technology is one of those leaps that could signal a transformative shift in how we could live and travel. We’re thrilled to be able to debut the Pegasus X-2 pod in the very building where Americans first encountered famous steam engines, the Apollo 11 lunar capsule and the 'Spirit of St. Louis.'"


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Published on May 08, 2021